The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Phaedo Phailure

Well, neither of us got to it yesterday and I had forgotten how long the thing is. I'll put up a few quick quotes of interest from the class and then try and revisit and expand over the next day or two.

Phaedo is a discussion about whether to embrace or fear the afterlife and becomes a discussion about the soul as well. It has some contradictory advice and it posits that there are things philosophy can't know about and so myths can serve a purpose.

Here's the first quote, "Surely the soul can best reflect when it is free of all distraction such as hearing or sight or pain or pleasure of any kind." (65c).
My response: This quote seems to undermine the very basis of the dialectic Socrates is engaging in here. We should all just go home and reflect. I think dialectic and conversation serves an important service in preventing us from getting too far down blind alleys.

Second quote: "If living things came from other living things, and the living things died, what possible means could prevent their number from being exhausted by death" (72c-d).
My response: Thermodynamics wins in the end. Alternately, breed like rabbits and a little "red queen hypothesis" for some modern biological happenstance. I know I shouldn't hold it against him but, hey, any points I can score against Plato are good.

Third quote, on why we don't want death to be a void, "If death were a release from everything it would be a boon for the wicked, because by dying they would be released not only from the body but also from their own wickedness together with the soul...[but] since the soul is clearly immortal, it can have no escape or security from evil except by becoming as good and wise as it possibly can" (107c-d).
My response: This is a pretty common defense of religion. I don't know that I can really bear to attack it because it does provide a lot of people a lot of incentive. However, there are a lot of available rebuttals, most famously Nietzsche.

Hopefully this whets your appetite and gives some fodder, at least for Chuckles. I presume the other three of you who skip this should at least post on the beauty of Alice Cooper!


At 9/09/2005 8:01 AM, Blogger dontEATnachos said...

That Alice Cooper is HOTT!!1!oneone

Actually, the question I have is this: how much do you have to hate yourself to voluntarily read classical greek philosophy? I understand that you're supposed to be a well rounded nerd but wow, I mean that is above and beyond the call of duty.

If I had more than 2 hours of free time a day maybe I'd read stuff too!

At 9/11/2005 8:29 AM, Blogger Chuckles said...

Reading the classics is only the basis for becoming a well rounded nerd. There are other aspects like physical fitness, martial ability and mechanical aptitude. I base the well rounded nerd on the example set by the ideal renaissance man. Maybe fulsome has another basis.


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